Drinks in the Loop: Where to kick back with the co-workers
I’ve heard it countless times before: “There’s nowhere to go for drinks in the Loop.” But after years of “research” I think it’s time to share my results with the people who need it the most – working professionals – because the perfect Loop happy hour oasis is just around the corner from your office and you didn’t even know it!
If you want to see and be seen…
This place is no secret, so the sooner you get here the better. My favorite place to sit is across from the bar. You get a view of people walking in, but you have a prime location for grabbing another drink. (Tip: There’s also space downstairs.) They’ve got some great aged spirits on their libations menu, but if you’re in the mood to kick back they’ve also got a good selection of seasonal brews. Bonus, the food is outstanding!
If you want to stay hidden…
Toni Patisserie and Café
A charming café nestled between Millennium Park and the El. It’s new to the wine scene, so it maintains a quiet level of relaxation. Whether you’re ready for an early dinner or just want a few pastries and glass of wine, Toni has you covered. (Tip: They make picnic baskets! Perfect for date night or going to a concert in Grant Park.)
If you want to eat…
This may not seem like the obvious choice for dinner and drinks, but it’s one of my new favorites. The burgers here are huge, and I’d even suggest splitting one so you can order some appetizers. Plus this place is perfect no matter what you’re looking for. Like to people watch? Sit up front and look out onto Michigan Avenue. Is the game on? There’s a whole wall of TVs. Do you just want to relax? The back lounge is pretty comfy. (Tip: If you’re looking for a light but tasty drink, try the Gearbox.)
If you want to impress the out-of-towners…
It is thee place to go if you’re trying to impress someone with a nice steak dinner. The waiters are so friendly and attentive. The subtle piano playing in the background makes you feel right at home. There’s a bar, but it’s always tame. (Tip: Get the petite filet so you can start with some BBQ bacon-wrapped scallops and a lobster cocktail.) They have a great selection at the bar so treat yourself to something fancy. You deserve it!
If you want to be authentic…
Normally thought of as a lunch spot, I’ve recently found out there’s also a casual bar at Ada’s. Feels just like that neighborhood joint around the corner from home. It’s quiet enough that you can have a conversation, and chill enough that you won’t be judged for ordering a Bud Light. (Tip: You can order food from the bar. If that corned-beef sandwich looks good -- just go for it!)
Chicago has plenty of after-work places to go for drinks in the Loop. Just don't get too carried away. We don't approve of playing hooky!